Thursday, November 25, 2010

The fall of Sparta

"We see the United States as deeply worried about terrorism. But effectively fighting against terrorism does not mean increasing the number of military operations; it means fighting against what causes terrorism. If you introduce kindness and gentleness at the place where terrorism begins, you will eradicate terrorism without pain. It is necessary to examine the most sensitive areas of the earth. You can do nothing to stop the seventeen-year-old kid who has decided to place a bomb somewhere. You can do strictly nothing, and any effort against him will just fly back in your face. Countering violence with violence is the most ineffective response imaginable. Instead, we should target the pain, with the goal to alleviate it. I firmly desire a worldwide dialogue, and I would like to see the United States discharged from the monologue. The period of great wars is over. Science has put in the hands of children extraordinary means of death. The greatest error the United States is currently making is to think that international military operations can stop a seventeen-year-old child from acting. "

The illusions of overwhelming force should now be clear. Some nutbar with incompetently arranged underwear has paralyzed American air transportation. A nuclear bomb in a container ship docked in Manhattan would make the same point. There is no way in this day and age of protecting anybody from violence if in fact violence is intended. The suicide bomber has made clear that sophisticated technology is useless in the face of primitive technology in the hands of those willing to die for a cause, however nutty. The cause of ridding Afghanistan of foreigners is arguably not very nutty at all.